Thomas Jefferson once said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” That is great advice! However, questioning is often much easier said than done. This is especially true for emotionally-charged topics. In truth, many people are conditioned NOT to ask questions. Especially when we are talking about a physician, a scientist, or even a teacher. However, if we do not ask the questions, we may not get the information that we need. We must understand that a lack of information is often defined as ignorance, and I am sure we can all agree that a state of ignorance is not the best place to be.
Of course, there is a process to effective questioning. The first step is understanding that we all have various types of biases and misconceptions that may impede true discovery. To help explain this, we will explore the topic of conspiracy theory. I choose this topic specifically because it can be a fun topic to explore and because, generally speaking, it is not a threat to most. Another reason is that most people have already formed their opinions on the various topics. However, as we explore this, know that I am getting to a bigger point.
To Question or Not to Question
For this experiment, let us start by examining government oversight. It has been said that only those with something to hide would oppose certain lines of questioning. Is that true? Consider the argument regarding Americans who fear or question the possibility of Constitutional infringements when it comes to privacy laws, voter IDs, universal background checks on firearms, and so on. Are the people who worry about such things wrong for questioning? Conversely, and as mentioned previously, many people are conditioned to avoid such questions or to question those who ask such questions. Is that appropriate? Does the government have a legitimate reason for wanting such oversight?
I would argue that perhaps all questions are healthy. However, let us pay homage to the idea that, as a nation and as a culture, we BELIEVE that we are highly inquisitive. This nature has generally been seen as a good thing. However, let us also pay homage to the idea that, to some degree, this nature has also been weaponized by the government and that people have been conditioned to follow the experts without question. That is an interesting complexity.
We must admit that the government often fosters this confusion when it suits them. For example, the government encourages the questioning of your neighbors with programs such as “See something, say something”, or the Neighborhood Watch Program, where they have encouraged bridge workers, shopping retailers, hoteliers, garbage collectors, patrol officers, and your next-door neighbors to notify authorities if they witness something “out of the ordinary”. Everyone is supposed to question everything and everyone, with one tiny exception. You are usually not supposed to question the motives or actions of the government or its agents. See what I mean?
Aside from clear examples, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the people are usually led to believe that the idea of the government doing something to hurt the people on purpose is preposterous. Moreover, suggesting such a thing is often seen as conspiratorial and a clear sign that you are a potential domestic terror threat. However, if there is evidence to demonstrate a problem, would it not mean that a potential problem exists?
We all seem to understand that when we hear, “There is nothing to see here, folks!” usually, there is something significant to see. Oddly enough, millions ignore this truth and blindly follow anything and everything that is presented to them by the government or the media. How does this happen? Of course, these same people tend to react emotionally instead of intellectually to the questions that may come up countering the official position. Why do some choose to ignore their inquisitive or even logical nature?
The Exploration of Conspiracy for Answers
Again, I am merely using the idea of conspiracy theory to make a larger point. Try not to get too wrapped up in the examples being used in this article. There is a bigger point being made. With that being said, let us continue.
A conspiracy theory is nothing more than a belief that a covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event. In other words, a conspiracy, in and of itself, is simply a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.
A conspiracy theorist is a person who believes that a covert but influential organization did or will do something harmful and unlawful. Usually, and as far as conspiracy theorists are concerned, the government or well-funded group played a role in the event.
The media often portrays such people as lunatics and their theories as fantasy. The question we must ask is, “Is there any evidence whatsoever to suggest that powerful people have devised covert plans to do something harmful or unlawful?” In truth, such events are much more common than you might like to believe. For example, on March 13, 1962, a document was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent to the Secretary of Defense. It was called “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS).” Some might know this as the Northwoods Memorandum or simply “Operation Northwoods“ (DOD, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, 1962).
What this document suggested was that the CIA, (a covert but influential organization) should commit false acts of terrorism against Americans. Essentially, the CIA would commit unlawful and harmful acts, including hijackings and bombings in the United States against Americans, in an effort to “ . . . place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.” In other words, these acts of self-inflicted domestic terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to bolster support from the American people for a war against Cuba. Thankfully, President Kennedy rejected the proposals.
Whether you call it National Security or Conspiracy is irrelevant. The truth is that this situation is evidence that demonstrates that powerful people have devised covert plans to do something harmful or unlawful. However, in order to see that situation for what it is, we had to remove the emotional bias and evaluate it through simplicity.
Of course, we can take it a step further. Is there a word or words that describe a covert military or paramilitary operation designed to deceive people into believing that such operations are being carried out by other entities, groups, or nations than those who actually planned and executed them? Actually, yes! The term you seek is False Flag. Another term often said to be fantasy. However, in the situation regarding Operation Northwoods, there was a clear conspiracy to commit a false flag.
Meanwhile, the majority of Americans remain unaware that this was a very real thing.
- Question: How does this happen?
- Answer: A lack of desire to question and a desire to reject uncomfortable truths.
Which approach is better? Asking an uncomfortable question and getting a potentially uncomfortable answer, denying the possibilities, avoiding the questions, and living a lie? We get to choose.
While my example thus far has been about a supposed conspiracy theory, the truth is that this line of reasoning exists for organizational discovery, our personal security, our health, and our personal lives. Unfortunately, many will live the lie rather than face the truth. What we must understand is that those who are bold enough to ask the questions are often resisted by those that refuse to. Primarily because of a desire to continue to live the lie.
What exactly is wrong with asking questions? What is wrong with wanting proof? What is wrong with wanting answers? If there is any evidence to suggest that a narrative is false, would it not be wise to question the elements of that narrative with boldness?
The best advice I can give when you are seeking tough answers is to ask tough questions. Appeal to accuracy and attempt to minimize confirmation bias. You need to be that little kid who repeatedly asks “why.” That is the only way you will find the answers you seek. However, the warning is that such answers might be difficult for you to accept. This is especially true if your bias is strong.
An Example Question
Formulating the “right question” can be difficult. However, I have a potential solution for you. I generally break any incident down into smaller pieces and question each component individually. Since we have been talking about conspiracy theories, we will use another one as our example.
Many classify the idea of chemtrails as a conspiracy theory. The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits that some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public and is an endeavor directed by various government officials.
Remember, if we seek to discover the truth, it is a good idea to ask the right questions instead of defaulting to denial. To effectively do that, you must take the greater position and break it down into tiny pieces. Once it is broken down, then you can begin to question each piece. Here is how this can be done. First, break down the bigger conspiracy into smaller pieces.
- Trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents…
- Deliberately sprayed at high altitudes…
- For purposes undisclosed to the general public…
- And directed by various government officials.
Then, we just begin to explore each heading by asking simple questions (without emotion). This can be done in a variety of ways, but I often approach the question as though I know nothing about it. From there, I will look for evidence both for and against the topic. For example…
Are any aircraft spraying things at high altitudes?
The default is to answer “no.” But, actually, the answer is yes! There is something called “geoengineering” or simply “weather modification” in which aircraft, ranging in size from small prop planes to the larger Boeing 747, engage in something known as “Cloud Seeding.” This is a process that seeks to bring rain to parched farmland by dispersing particles of silver iodide or solid carbon dioxide into rain-bearing clouds (Britannica, 2013).
Are the trails behind some aircraft chemical or biological?
Actually, yes! As we just learned, we know that in weather modification efforts, some of these planes are spraying something called Silver Iodide. Silver Iodide is classified as a chemical (PANNA, 2010).
Is this effort directed by various government officials?
Actually, yes! And it makes sense. The larger aircraft being used is usually government-contracted (Evergreen, 2013). Moreover, according to several sources, the CIA helped fund a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that investigated whether humans could use geoengineering to stop climate change (Williams R., 2013). However, this is not just a government directive. As it turns out, universities across this nation are also involved in the effort. And, as you may know, many universities are involved with government endeavors.
Are these operations being disclosed to the public?
Well, that really depends on what you mean by disclosed. Clearly, the information is available if you know where to look. The question you have to reconcile is, how many people in your neighborhood have heard of any of this?
Each one of these questions found some level of truth. So, is it conspiracy theory or fact? As you can see, this is not a conspiracy theory at all. Instead, it is a very obvious fact that is easily researched. It took me all of about ten minutes to find this information. Yet, it remains debated among the people while the government remains relatively quiet about these activities. Now it is question time. Why is the government relatively quiet about these activities?
We could assume that the idea is just too big for most to wrap their heads around. That may be true, but the easiest way to find this answer is to focus on what is being sprayed and ask questions about that. As we discovered, chemicals such as silver iodide are being sprayed. Is there a potential problem with that? Well, according to the chemical charts found in your chemistry books, you will find that silver iodide acts as a fungicide, an herbicide, and a microbicide (PANNA, 2010). Now, that does not sound too bad until you consider the idea of this chemical falling on your lawns and crops. So, let’s ask some questions about that.
If you have weeds in your driveway, what do you buy at the store to resolve the problem? A herbicide, right? An herbicide is a substance that is toxic to plants and is used to destroy unwanted vegetation. So, what do you think might happen when you put this chemical in your clouds and let it rain down on your crops? Is there a potential for a problem? Wouldn’t you like to know?
If you dig deeper, it gets stranger. Perhaps they have already thought of such issues. If they have, what kind of seeds might resist this potential problem? If such seeds exist, who might sell them? Moreover, would the product of such plants be okay to eat? Or better yet, what would happen if that chemical gets into the city water supply? Would that have an impact on my health?
These are just examples of many questions that might ask and research. There may or may not be answers to such questions and the whole situation could be entirely innocent or similar to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. I sure don’t have all the answers, but they seem like tough questions that likely require a considerable amount of context to fully understand. I would imagine that such answers could not be relayed in a Tweet or even a three-minute segment on the nightly news. This sounds like a very good reason for government officials to avoid the topic generally. Similarly, don’t you think that some people might be concerned at the idea that the government is spraying a potential poison on their crops, lawns, etc.? Can you foresee issues trying to address such questions publicly without people taking things out of context or otherwise freaking out? I can.
Let’s explore just a few more ideas before I get to my bigger point. For this next exercise, I want you to reflect on an excerpt from an article written by David K Shipler in The New York Times on April 28, 2012. I feel it really drives home the point.
The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years—or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.
But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest, and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.
Sometimes nothing is as it seems. My point here is that it does not matter if we are talking about a spouse exhibiting cheating behavior or a government official profiting from their corruption, you must question with boldness if you want the actionable truth. Asking questions is not nearly as problematic as not asking questions.
What can possibly come about by asking a question like the ones we have asked here today? Maybe you will come up with the same answers your spouse, the media, or the government has provided you. Or maybe, you will come to your own conclusions and your own theories instead of relying on someone else to do it for you. You get to choose whether you lead or get misled. Either is fine, but you need to understand that the odds of being lied to increase when you have no interest in ensuring integrity.
Think for yourself. There is no such thing as a dumb question! If someone seeks knowledge or questions an official story, they are probably right to do so having been provided more than enough evidence to suggest that such questions are in their better interests. Furthermore, progress and innovation have never been made in any facet of life without the benefit of a question beforehand.
Consider the following. During the time of our Founders, many believed that thunder and lightning were the wrath of God. Was Benjamin Franklin considered a conspiracy theorist for questioning the official position, or a hero for harnessing electricity? At the end of the day, the label we affix doesn’t matter. The truth was ultimately better than the ignorance that literally kept everyone in the dark.
Willful ignorance is poison.
Popular Conspiracy Questions on the Internet
- What was the significance of Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum’s memo dated October 7, 1940, and what was Roosevelt’s reaction?
- What did Joseph C. Grew (the US ambassador to Japan) do on January 27, 1941?
- What did the US Navy fail to hit on August 4, 1964?
- Over 3,000 architects and engineers have come out to say what about 9/11 and the World Trade Center Building 7?
- What is “NORAD EXERCISES Hijack Summary” or “Vigilant Guardian”?
- Why did Senate Minority Leader John McKinney want pictures and special exemptions in the state Freedom of Information Act for families who lost members in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre?
- What do Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, and the Libor Scandal have in common?
- What is Operation Fast and Furious, and what is gun-walking?
- What do Dyess Air Force base in South Carolina, Lindsey Graham’s threat that a nuclear strike in that region was possible, and Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, all have in common?
- What do Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, Gen. William “Kip” Ward, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette, and General Carter Ham all have in common?
- Who is the man captured on surveillance video smashing windows at a Minneapolis AutoZone in the wake of George Floyd’s death and what was the result of his actions?
- How did Fauci know that there would be an outbreak during Trump’s administration as far back as 2017 and what financial benefits did he have regarding the outbreak itself?
Regardless of what you find, there is no doubt that many of the answers might be disputed. That’s actually a great place to start because YOU can then weigh the facts and decide for yourself. Just keep in mind that astroturfing is real.